Summit agreement for restart with Turkey

Mitsotakis and Erdogan agree to repair ties while maintaining ‘calm waters’ in the Aegean 

Summit agreement for restart with Turkey

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached a political agreement that will lead to a prolonged period of calm in Greek-Turkish relations and the establishment of a communication channel at the highest level on Wednesday during their meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius.

The three-pronged agreement stipulates direct communication between the two foreign ministers and oversight of issues under their jurisdiction, the promotion of military confidence building measures (CBMs) and the continuation of the positive agenda, through the announcement of the meeting of the High Cooperation Council of the two countries in Thessaloniki in the fall.

In fact, in their fifth meeting in less than four years, Mitsotakis and Erdogan agreed to change the framework of communication between the two countries. The meeting between the two men and their delegations had been scheduled to last no more than half an hour, but ended up lasting an hour and five minutes. The atmosphere in which the discussions were held was reportedly positive, reflecting the broader attitude that Erdogan has maintained in all his contacts in Vilnius.

Mitsotakis noted that a “cautious new beginning with Turkey” was being made and highlighted the three axes of their agreement.

“The political dialogue under the guidance of the foreign ministers. Our main difference is the maritime zones. The second channel is the confidence building measures, which can bear fruit. The third channel is the so-called positive agenda… which concerns economic issues. These can be built in Thessaloniki before the end of the year. The European Council presents two paths for Turkey. Our intention is to move along the European path,” he said.

Mitsotakis also underlined that the atmosphere “suggests the willingness of both leaders to reopen the framework of our relations.”

Moreover, he said that he does not doubt Erdogan’s intentions, noting that this is a shift by the Turkish president. “I see the glass half-full and not half-empty. We do not forget what happened in the last four years. But we can live in peace, even if we cannot solve the issue of maritime zones. Through the CBM route, which has been informal in recent months, we can defuse possible sources of future tension,” he said.

Tellingly, after the meeting, two identical statements were issued by the Greek PM’s Office and the Turkish Presidency.

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